This week we're using the Web to find people, maybe win big bucks by
playing along with a TV game show, look at the history of roller
coasters and build a virtual street rod from the ground up.
Playing Sherlock Holmes. "Because of the Internet, you'll
never need to use a phone book again," I heard a Web expert proclaim
last week. While I wouldn't go quite that far -- the phone book and
information operator can sometimes be quicker -- you can certainly save
yourself those 95-cent fees for long-distance information by looking up
numbers on the Net. And the Net is ideal for finding people -- old
friends you've lost track of, and so forth.
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My experience is that you almost never can locate everyone you're
looking for at a single site, so I use a number of different ones. Until
now, I just kept a bunch of them bookmarked and went from one to the
next until I found what I was looking for. But then I discovered Search
Finders list, which links to lots of sites from one page. Much more
Got culture? You might not imagine that you'd find hip-hop and
rap or country music at a site called Art and Culture. But it's there.
So are classical music, jazz, opera, blues and folk music. But this
eclectic spot isn't just about music. It covers film, literature,
performing arts (ballet, dance, theater) and visual arts. Under design
arts, it includes architecture, fashion design, interior design,
furniture design, graphic design and advertising.
Thai or Italian tonight? When you're looking for a restaurant
in a city you're visiting, head to Restaurant Row, which lists
110,000 of them in 7,000 cities in the U.S. and other countries. You can
search for a place to eat by food type, location, ambience and
entertainment, or just click on the "10 best" in each city. My favorite
for finding reasonably objective restaurant reviews (since visitors have
to register to write a review) is the venerable Zagat Survey. Its reviews on the Web are
mostly for big cities in the U.S. (plus London, Paris, Tokyo, Toronto
and Vancouver), but if you're heading to one that's included, the info
is very helpful.
Test your knowledge. From 10 to 10:30 p.m. (EDT) July 31
through Aug. 20, you can play along online with TV Land's Ultimate
Fan Search program. Play against on-air contestants and online
players for the $10,000 top prize. Register now and start boning up! (By
the way, if you can't reach the Fan Search site, head to TV Land and click on the Ultimate Fan
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Scream Machine. In the early part of the 1900s, summer meant
Coney Island to New Yorkers. It was called "the most extravagant
playground in the country." Tonight there's a television show that looks
at its glittering history, and to go with it is a Coney Island website. There
you'll find the history of roller coasters, film clips from the past and
a look at what Coney Island and the Net have in common.
Are we there yet? In 1921, there were 10 million cars in the
U.S. and their owners wanted to go places in them. In the summer that
meant "gypsying" vacations and camping in the car (Holiday Inns came
much later). America
by Car looks at how Americans vacationed in the 1920s and '30s.
Enjoy the drive. For automobile enthusiasts, getting there
isn't just part of the fun, it's most of it. Enjoy the Drive provides news,
features, how-tos, experts and discussion groups for those who really
love cars. And it offers the opportunity to build a virtual street
rod from scratch -- click by click.
I'm not making this up! Sometimes the cliché is true -- truth
is stranger than fiction. At the Obscure Store and Reading Room,
you'll find actual, up-to-date headlines and news stories that are
funnier and more amazing than any comedian could invent. For instance,
one last week said, "Court rules soliciting hit man on the Web is not
free speech." And visitors also discovered that in New Mexico it isn't
illegal to be a Peeping Tom.
Quick, let's sue. Remember the case where McDonald's was sued
because a customer spilled very hot coffee held between her legs in a
car? Well a satirical website does and named itself Scalding Coffee. Some of the
made-up articles (such as McDonald's taken to court for freezing soft
drink) will draw a chuckle from ordinary readers. Others, such as a
piece on law firm interns, appeal mostly to an insider audience.